Have You Missed Bars As Much As We Have?

We’re done taking our bars for granted. So we wrote some love letters to them to prove it.

bars during covid

Citywides at El Bar in Kensington. Photograph by Ted Nghiem

Their tall stools. Their sticky wooden tops. We miss the foggy beers and purple wines, the shots of whiskey lining up whenever a night would inevitably turn from civilized to debauched. The feeling they gave us of being in spaces intentionally designed for gathering and good-time-having. The vibes. Each bar in this city is designed with one in mind, whether it comes from live music or exceptional hours of operation or simply the blare of the TV during a game. For a second there, it looked like we’d all be crammed back in bars by Thanksgiving. But with COVID still looming large, it’s hard to predict when life will feel normal again. One thing’s for sure: We’re done taking our bars for granted. We even wrote them some love letters to prove it. Starting with …

There’s Nothing I’ve Missed More Than Enjoying Live Music in a Bar

live music bars

We’ve really missed hanging out in live music bars. Photograph by Ian Shiver

Do you daydream about seeing people play music up close the way we do? Keep reading here.

Finding Comfort in the Discomfort of a Dive Bar

philly dive bars

We’ve missed hanging out in Philly dive bars. Photograph by Ian Shiver

There’s something special about overlooking a gritty environment in the name of cheap drinks, good company and real-deal bartenders. Keep reading here.

We’ve Really Missed Watching Sports at a Bar

watching sports bars

We’ve really missed sports bars. Photograph by Ian Shiver

Hanging out at sports bars is kind of like watching the game at the stadium, without having to buy a ticket. Keep reading here.

Remember Disappearing Into a Crowd of Strangers at a Bar?

neighborhood bars

There’s something great about pulling up a chair in one of your neighborhood bars and disappearing into the crowd. Photograph by Ian Shiver

Being treated as though you’re invisible almost always sucks, but this is an exception. Keep reading here.

There’s Nothing Cozier Than Spending the Holidays Inside a Bar

holiday bars

We’ve missed spending the holidays in bars. Photograph by Ian Shiver

To find kindred spirits in an empty bar on Christmas is one of life’s greatest gifts. Keep reading here.

Published as “We Really, Really Miss Bars” in the October 2021 issue of Philadelphia magazine.